Rep. Brady on mass shootings: 'We need to go deeper than a bumper sticker issue'
In the wake of deadly mass shootings in California, Ohio, and El Paso, News 3's Kathleen Witte spoke with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-District 8) for his thoughts on what Congress can do to prevent more mass shootings like these.
Particularly with something like this happening in Texas, what is your initial reaction?
I'm horrified, as I think every Texan is--and every American. We've seen a pretty bloody week of mass shootings here, in Ohio, and in California. Look, we've got to find a way to come together to address this issue in a real way.
So, the president also called for bipartisan action on this. What sort of bipartisan action do you think can happen? This is one of the most divisive issues.
I think there are some opportunities here. One, we've got to find a better way to identify these early warning signs, to be able to step in, because both the Parkland shooting and certainly, it appears, the Dayton shooting could have been prevented. There were plenty of early warning signs. Secondly, I do worry that our culture glorifies violence. I think, whether you're a parent of teenagers as I am, it just seems so prevalent. I don't think that helps at all. Thirdly, boy, we don't have a mental health care system in America. I think it fails us too often. Certainly, we've got to find a way to have a system in place to provide both the screening, the treatment, the real help to prevent this, because it seems so many of these shootings are isolated individuals that have had mental health issues that haven't been addressed. At the end of the day, this is how they express themselves. We've got to come together on mental health.
You're talking mental health, early warning signs, violence in our culture--but is there a place, for you, in this discussion, for gun control legislation?
Unfortunately, as we look at states like California, that have the complete gun control in place, whether it is bans on certain weapons, 10-day waiting periods-- not a weapon can be sold unless it's approved by the state of California-- and yet they saw a mass shooting this past week that killed or injured 18 people. They stopped and prevented a mass shooting at a school earlier in January. So, all those gun control measures in that state [has not] prevented these shootings. So I think we need to go deeper than just a bumper sticker issue. This one is going to take real thought and real action.
When we're talking comparisons, sure, comparing California to Texas, or California to any other state, or Texas to any other state, but we can also compare the United States to other nations in the world, and the number of mass shootings we have here--and not even mass shootings, but just homicide by gun. So without comparing state to state, do you think there's something federally that can be done?
Yes, in fact, I'm really proud that the past couple of years, we passed legislation that President Trump signed to address school violence, to stop violence in schools. Secondly, to strengthen our background system. In many cases, we know people shouldn't be buying these guns, and our background system is not complete. The agencies are not being timely in it. We've already passed what we call the Fix NICS. The president has signed. And then I'm a supporter of the Prevent Mass Shootings legislation. That really starts to target the underlying causes of these mass shootings, which is more complex than people believe. I'll finish with this: we have about 2 percent of the counties in America where more than half of the gun violence and homicides occur. Why aren't we doing more to focus on those few counties where we're seeing the most violence? Why can't we come together as Republicans and Democrats--many of them inner cities--and address this issue? I'm convinced we can.
The manifesto from the El Paso shooter cited a "Hispanic invasion of Texas." Congressman, you have a lot of Hispanic folks in your district. Do you want to respond to that?
Well, I'll tell you, our state and I are very proud of our Hispanic Americans who call Texas home. I will point out that that wasn't the only part of the shooter's background. He also was not a fan of President Trump, big corporations, etc. So we're both to the left and to the right. What we do know is this was a very troubled individual, as is the one in Dayton--and isolated. Why is that? And what can we do to prevent the next one?
For the full conversation, see the video player above.